Heavy batteries and inefficient propellers limit drone flying times, say a team of researchers at Flybotix, a startup of the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne. The team has designed a 12-inch drone that could potentially overcome that limitation.
The drone uses two propellers guided by an algorithm-based stabilization mechanism, giving it the “aerodynamic performance of a helicopter and the mechanical stability of a quadcopter,” lead designer Samir Bouadballah told Engineering.com. The drone’s ring-shaped structure also improves durability, enabling it to bounce off of obstacles without damaging flight machinery.
According to an article in Engineering.com, reducing the number of propellers enabled the team to make each one longer, and more efficient. It also made the drone more energy efficient, and allowed the battery to last longer. Bouabdallah also developed a digital control system that uses an algorithm-powered stabilizer to offset the two rotating forces.
According to the article, the smaller the drone is, the shorter the flying time will be as well. Combined with constraints on battery size and weight, small drones require recharging within a short time after they first take off.
The team intends to test the drone by conducting inspections of dangerous, inaccessible areas.